Renewing Your Mind

Romans 12:1-2 NIV 
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

God does not desire us to present a dead animal sacrifice, but desires for us to be a living sacrifice. What does it meant to be a living sacrifice? It means to daily lay aside our own desires and follow after Him. It means to live by the power of the Holy Spirit in order for the fruit of the Spirit to manifest in our lives.  This is our “spiritual act of worship” unto the Lord: we live by the Spirit by renewing our minds in God’s Truth.

Let us consider these verses from Scripture as we examine what it means to renew our mind.  Most individuals operate out of the belief that when something (activating event) happens, they are to simply respond (reaction). Hence, the equation of A=C. For many people, this activating event will elicit a natural reaction. 

Activating Event (A) Possible Reactions (C)
Someone steps/stands on your foot while waiting at the bus stop.
  1. Ask the person, “Would you please move your foot?”
  2. Ask the person, “Why do you feel the need to step on my foot?”
  3. Simply move your foot without saying anything.
  4. Aggressively push the person off of your foot.
Many of us think that when things happen to us, we are to respond naturally.  This thinking is problematic.  As the table shows, people will respond differently to the same event.  Why?  Because their reaction depends entirely on what they believe.  Our belief systems determine our reactions.  When we do something, the action is motivated by what we are believing.  Instead of living under the equation A = C, we actually live under the equation A + B = C.  Here is the same example, but with the belief systems that determine the reactions.
Activating Event (A) Belief System (B) Reactions (C)
Someone steps/stands on your foot while waiting at the bus stop.
  1. Being kind and straightforward is the most effective way to get the individual off of my foot.
  2. I need to understand this individual better, so talking things out is the best approach.
  3. Confrontation is never a good option! In order to avoid a confrontation, it’s best not to engage this individual at all.
  4. Physical touch and violation of my personal space is an insult! I’ve learned to deal with insults through violence.
  1. Ask the person, “Would you please move your foot?”
  2. Ask the person, “Why do you feel the need to step on my foot?”
  3. Simply move your foot without saying anything.
  4. Aggressively push the person off of your foot.
It is clear from these examples that all things remain constant except for what the person has been taught to believe!  Understanding this teaching illuminates many passages throughout Scripture that exhort the believer to shift their way of thinking from worldly to God-centered.  
  • Romans 8:6-8 NIV

The Power of the Enemy is in the Lie 
As Christians, we know that there is only one belief system that is Truth and all other belief systems are lies.  If Satan can convince us to believe lies about ourselves, lies about others and lies about God, we will be under his control, even while he is bound.  This is why it is crucial for us to renew our minds. 

  • John 8:44 NIV
  • 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

How Do We Renew Our Minds? 
First, we must realize that there are many lies we believe on a regular basis. These lies inadvertently and sometimes maliciously come from culture, friends, family, and even the church.  God wants us to expose these lies and transform our minds with His Truth. 

There Are Two Types of Lies 

  1. Conscious Lies. These lies are easily detected.  Maybe before you knew Christ, you used to berate and cuss out others to bring them down.  Or perhaps you used to steal.  This behavior existed because of your belief system. Clearly, since they were sinful acts, these behaviors originated from lies in your belief system. Therefore, as a follower of Christ, you now must realize that these behaviors must cease because God commands not to conform to the world’s mold but to His. These “conscious” lies are dealt with based on the Christian’s desire to come broken before God and repent of their sin.
  2. Subconscious Lies. These lies are not as easy to detect. They can be subtler and usually result from patterns of thinking.  These lies can be ingrained in you and eventually become part of your personality.

Turning Lies into Spiritual Truth
After we recognize the lies in our belief system, we must choose to believe the Truth! The only way for someone to stop believing lies and begin to believe truth is not through positive thinking.  We cannot believe the Truth unless we know the Truth.

The Truth is Found in God’s Word 
We must begin by asking what God’s word says about a particular situation.  For example, if we are believing lies about ourselves in regards to issues of self-worth and self-image, we can turn to Genesis 1:27 NIV, Psalm 139:13-14 NIV, Isaiah 43:4-5 NIV, and Romans 8:37-59 NIV to understand that our worth is a result of who we are in Christ. 

We must remember that all behavior we exhibit is a function of what we believe at that moment. If we are believing a lie, then our behavior or reactions to circumstances in our lives will reflect this lie. By understanding the command to replace the lies in our belief system with spiritual truth, we are on the road to recovery and healthy living in Christ. We will begin to see victory in our walks with God once we begin to break free from these lies.

Application Questions 

  1. Do you really believe that everything you do or say is controlled by your belief system? If not, why?
  2. Are there any sin patterns in your life that you are struggling with? If so, what is the lie that forms the basis for this sin pattern? What does God’s Word say is true?
  3. What are some lies that Satan has told you about yourself and your relationship with God? What does God’s Word say is true?
  4. On a practical, day-to-day, level, what do you think it means to believe the truth? 

How does this study reinforce your belief in the gospel?

Other Resources

Here are a few websites we recommended you use to receive further training and help aid your worship of Christ:

The Gospel Coalition
for Theology and Worldview

The Resurgence
for Theology and Worldview

Desiring God
for Theology and Worldview

God Squad
for Campus Ministry and Evangelism

Gospel Centered Discipleship
for Accountability

FCS Urban Ministries
for Urban Ministry & Community Development

for Urban Ministry & Community Development